Higher education will provide the foundation for a deepening trade relationship between the UK and China as the bilateral partnership enters a ‘golden era’, according to a new report from the Confederation of British Industry and Middlesex University.Universities provide “a great foundation to build a strengthened UK-China partnership”, according to the report, which highlights the enormous economic benefits of deepening an already strong trade relationship.
China is now the UK’s eighth largest export market, but there is more scope for further growth as the country adds an economy “the size of Belgium” every year, according to the report.
In Bridges to the Future: The Role of Universities in the UK-China Relationship, Josh Hardie, deputy director general of the CBI, which represents some 190,000 UK businesses, writes that university partnerships provide “a key axis for UK-China relations to build on”.
“The connections between UK and Chinese higher education are some of the most well-developed and innovative that exist between our countries.”
China is already the UK’s top partner for transnational education, outlines the report, with 950 TNE programmes enabling more than 57,000 students in China to study towards UK qualifications each year at an overseas arm of a UK university, a joint institution or a joint course.
Meanwhile, some 90,000 students Chinese students make up more than a fifth of all international students in the UK.
Higher education is increasingly a priority for investment in China, with growing demand for university education and a government focus on research and innovation providing fertile ground for collaboration, according to the report.
The UK’s international outlook, leading TNE provision and academic prestige, as well as its position as a “research superpower”, give it a competitive edge to forge these relationships, it argues.
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